Uganda: Gaddafi FC, the Next Big Thing in Eastern Uganda

13 February 2020

Kampala — In the history of Uganda's football, only twice has the league title crossed the boarders of Buganda. Nile Breweries and Coffee, which was based at Kakira, were the other league winners in 1980 and 1970, respectively. Yet the flamboyant Gaddafi hopes this is about to change. For now, they are struggling as the little known crowd pullers of Jinja in the Eastern Uganda Regional League and will have to negotiate the small problem of the Big League before their dream can be realised.

Big dreams

When the great Nile and Nytil teams shut doors in the 1990s, it took until 2011 for Bidco (now Bul) to get promoted from eastern Uganda under the guidance of iron woman Diana Nyago. Four seasons later, Kirinya-Jinja SS, now Busoga United, also earned their place in the top flight in 2016.

But after three years, Gaddafi, a football team that was bankrolled by the First Division guard battalion at Kimaka, are dreaming big.

"Our mission is to get promoted to the Super League in 2022 and afterwards start fighting for the league title," Lt Edrine Ochieng, the team president says.

In 2017, the team played in the Jinja District fifth division league which they won with Farahani Kinayidanga, the coach player. The midfielder is to-date the only player remaining of the original team.

In the 2018/19 season, they topped the Jinja District fourth division and finished second in the Zonal mini-league behind Bugoto as they qualified for the regional league.

After investing heavily in recruiting players, with the cash from Pesh Construction Company to a tune of more than Shs100m, Lt Ochieng has reportedly told the players he wants to establish a top team.

When the team was promoted to the regional league, they hired respected coach Michael Ssebaggala from Jinja Parents and Salim Munubi. This followed massive recruitment that saw the arrival of goalkeeper Paul Mujampani from Bul, Ibrahim Massa (Nyamityobora), Mubarak Magumba and Mark Bamukyaye (Busoga), Patrick Crespo Asiku and Blaise Nkolo from Western Stima in Kenya. And the stats are telling of the investment. Gaddafi sit top of their league with 26pts from nine first round games followed by Budondo on 22. The gulf in quality is evident as third-placed The School is 10 points behind.

Window of opportunity

Lt Ochieng is a passionate football philanthropist. He partly gave a hand to Kyaggwe Ssaza team, Kyetume's promotion to the top flight as well as helping Free Stars. As a player, he was a goalkeeper with Yale SS in Kayunga and Bishop's SS. Last week, as part of the team's development plans, they took over Bugembe's Eastern Soccer Academy. "If we continue doing the right things, nothing can stop us," he explains.

GADDAFI FRC IN BRIEF

Name: Gaddafi FC

Nickname: The Soldier Boys

President: Lt Col Edrine Ochieng

Patron: Rtd Col. Ivan Lwanyagga

CEO: Ronald Kitakulwe

Chairman: Richard Kimera

TD: Maj. Ronald Matovu

Team captain: Bakali Magumba

Communications: Aisha Nakato

Operations: Rajab Mukose

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